Much shuffling in the schools | NevadaAppeal.com

Much shuffling in the schools

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

When one administrator leaves the Carson City School District, it can lead to a domino-effect with positions being filled by other employees, thereby leaving another vacancy to be filled.

This year brings much of that change.

Laurel Terry left her post as principal of Seeliger Elementary School to become the English-as-a-Second-Language coordinator for the district. She replaces Steve Ross, who left for the state department of education.

Being a teacher of teachers is something she’s always wanted to do, Terry said, and will give her an opportunity to streamline the program, which has about 20 staff.

“About 26 percent of our population is limited-English proficiency,” she said. “And that doesn’t mean Hispanic. It’s also Chinese, Russian, Polish, Filipino and Vietnamese.”

She will work to help general-education teachers learn to provide opportunities for the English-language learner students and for those on an individualized education track.

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Moving to ESL coordinator means she can work on her personal goals for going back to school. She has already signed up for two Spanish classes at Western Nevada Community College. She eventually hopes to become a college professor.

“I figured if I did get this position that what has blessed me would bless somebody else,” she said. “And I think it’s had that kind of effect in the district.”

Indeed it has. Lee Conley, former assistant principal at Empire Elementary School, was chosen to replace Terry. Chris Budson, dean of students at Carson High School, was transferred to Empire to replace Conley. Budson’s position at the high school has not yet been filled.

The decision to make a middle school principal a position in the Storey County School District started a similar chain-reaction there. Todd Hess left the high school to become the middle school principal. Pat Beckwith, interim principal at Pioneer High School and former Bordewich-Bray vice principal, was hired to become principal of Virginia City High School.

Mark Van Voorst, formerly from the Douglas County School District, began working at Pioneer High School this summer as principal. Beckwith’s position as assistant principal at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School was filled by teacher Casey Gilles.

Also Dr. Keith Croskery, a school psychologist, filled the position of student support services director formerly left by former director Ruth Aberasturi, who retired after 37 years

“I think this year we’ve had a little more changes in administration that we’ve had in the past,” said Carson City School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski. “As far as teachers, we’ve had the same number retire or move away (as in the past). We’re running about average for that.”

Despite the declining enrollment and less per-pupil funding the district is expecting to receive come count day, the department was still able to fill all necessary positions.

“We hired all the people that we needed to this year,” said Pierczynski. “What we did do was tried to do some streamlining. We did not cut any programs. We are efficient as we possibly can be with personnel.”

Some of that streamlining occurred in nutrition services, maintenance and student support services. Croskery’s position might not be filled.

“Our focus this upcoming year is academics, academics, academics,” she said. “I’m very encouraged this year that we have some time to train our teachers to teach more effectively. There are some of our sub-populations that we need to bring up to make (adequate yearly progress). Our focus is on making AYP.”

The twice-monthly professional development sessions means that start and release dates have changed at some of the schools.

What worries Pierczynski about the school district in the future is being able to attract new teachers.

“We had plenty of applications this year,” she said. “We’re certainly not in the situation of Clark County of not having enough applications. In the future, we may have to look at it. The cost of living here is high for a teacher to buy a house.”

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.